Akai’s VIP software is a comprehensive VST host, instrument player and live performance tool. Originally it was only available with Akai’s own range of VIP enabled MIDI controllers, until now. With version 3 they’ve opened it up as a stand alone and plug-in VST host for any MIDI controller or DAW.
The most important new feature is the MIDI Learn engine. Previously it was all nicely integrated with the knobs on VIP keyboards, and it still is. On a VIP keyboard most of the important mapping is done for you. But with MIDI learn you can now map various VST or VIP Macro parameters to any MIDI controller.
Akai have also opened up the auto-mapping so that any 3rd party developer can produce a custom map that will automatically map their synth, instrument or effect to the controls in the VIP software. That would certainly make everyone’s life that bit easier.
Other new features include Pad Chord Progressions where you can map chords to pads for building songs. It comes with various articulations and humanization features, randomization, scaling and all sorts of cleverness. Combine that with Key Control that can restrict MIDI input to scales, notes, chords and harmonies.
The beauty of the VIP software is that it allows you to build multi-instruments and effects out of your VST library. Combine a load of different instruments into one enormous synth. Or layer them across your keyboard for live performance. You can save the whole lot within the VIP software for instant recall. It also sucks out all the presets from every instrument and lets you browse them in one interface. A bit like Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol, or Arturia’s Analog Lab but this handles any VST instruments you have.
The list price for VIP 3.0 Standard is £135.95. Plugin Boutique have an introductory price of £89.95 which feels more reasonable but then if you compare it to existing VST Host software like Cantabile or Gig Performer then it’s certainly competitive. If you’d like it bundled with an enormous amount of content then there’s a Plus version available for £137.95 (usual price £229.99).
More information on the Akai website.